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    Default Firefighters as nuisance wildlife control officers

    I just saw an episode of a new series on Animal Planet called "Swamp Wars", which seems to focus on the Miami-Dade Fire Department's "Venom Response Unit".

    While I suppose it makes sense to keep a good antivenin stockpile in Miami, I don't understand why they have FF Captains and Lieutenants out catching snakes and lizards. I'm sure that animal control officers could do the same thing at probably a much lower salary. I'm sure the FD has invested tens of thousands of dollars training these folks to fight fires -- a very specialized skill, that is just going to waste here.

    Is this the ultimate expression of "the fire department can do anything" or what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    I just saw an episode of a new series on Animal Planet called "Swamp Wars", which seems to focus on the Miami-Dade Fire Department's "Venom Response Unit".

    While I suppose it makes sense to keep a good antivenin stockpile in Miami, I don't understand why they have FF Captains and Lieutenants out catching snakes and lizards. I'm sure that animal control officers could do the same thing at probably a much lower salary. I'm sure the FD has invested tens of thousands of dollars training these folks to fight fires -- a very specialized skill, that is just going to waste here.

    Is this the ultimate expression of "the fire department can do anything" or what?
    So you want to train animal control officers as paramedics then?

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    I read as far as "Firefighters are nuisance wildlife.." and have to agree.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    I didn't think they did actual animal control type duties, I thought they kept the stock pile of anti-venom and did education on treatment and safety so I can't comment on that aspect. I could see the argument for the local hospital or medical university should take on this burden, but it appears Miami-Dade FD does a good job of administering the program. Also since they are the provider of pre-hospital medicine in the area, they should be the first ones to contact local venom victims and are in a good place to get the response going.

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    In a department as large as Miami-Dade, it wouldn't surprise me to find some folks who have an interest in such activities, especially where the critters in question are so common.

    If given proper training, I might consider such an activity, but I wouldn't want it to be a job requirement for those not so inclined. Awareness, yes. Handling, no.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TVFR9923 View Post
    So you want to train animal control officers as paramedics then?
    Why would you send a trained firefighter paramedic crawling around underneath a house to capture a taegu (an exotic lizard) that has not bitten anyone? Or spend hours thrashing around in the weeds trying to catch a non-venemous python?

    Seems to me that you don't call the firefighter/paramedic until someone is actually bit. If that hasn't happened, send animal control.

    Using the same logic, we should be having firefighters out catching dogs and cats because they might have rabies.

    I've got no problem with doing education and training and keeping the stockpile. But not catching animals that haven't harmed anyone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    Why would you send a trained firefighter paramedic crawling around underneath a house to capture a taegu (an exotic lizard) that has not bitten anyone? Or spend hours thrashing around in the weeds trying to catch a non-venemous python?

    Seems to me that you don't call the firefighter/paramedic until someone is actually bit. If that hasn't happened, send animal control.

    Using the same logic, we should be having firefighters out catching dogs and cats because they might have rabies.

    I've got no problem with doing education and training and keeping the stockpile. But not catching animals that haven't harmed anyone.
    Likely because we are the fire department, and, true or not, in the eyes of the powers that be we have the time and the manpower to assume the role.

    Simple fact we given the economy, the departments leaders may have willingly assumed this task or the fire department may have been assigned this task by the powers that be. Either way, it fills an needs and gives the fire department another arguement for avoiding layoffs.

    There are a lot of tasks that fire departments have taken on, willingly or not, to justify staffing. This may be just another one of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Likely because we are the fire department, and, true or not, in the eyes of the powers that be we have the time and the manpower to assume the role.
    Wrong as usual...

    Someone better educate the "powers that be" that we shouldn't be dealing with nuisance wildlife unless they are on fire.


    Simple fact we given the economy, the departments leaders may have willingly assumed this task or the fire department may have been assigned this task by the powers that be. Either way, it fills an needs and gives the fire department another argument for avoiding layoffs.
    Safe staffing for the protection of the community and the safety of fire personnel should be the main argument for avoiding layoffs, not chasing spiders, snakes and 'gators.

    There are a lot of tasks that fire departments have taken on, willingly or not, to justify staffing. This may be just another one of them.
    We have taken up many of the tassk not becuase we wanted to, but because nobody else would step up to the plate. It is funny though.. once the task can be turned into a source of revenue for the FD, the private sector wants to take it over...
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    Wrong as usual...

    Someone better educate the "powers that be" that we shouldn't be dealing with nuisance wildlife unless they are on fire.


    Why don't you take that on.

    Educating them how we need engines and ladder companies haven't been going all that swimmingly in places all over the country.

    Safe staffing for the protection of the community and the safety of fire personnel should be the main argument for avoiding layoffs, not chasing spiders, snakes and 'gators.

    See above.

    We have taken up many of the tassk not becuase we wanted to, but because nobody else would step up to the plate. It is funny though.. once the task can be turned into a source of revenue for the FD, the private sector wants to take it over...

    I would bet you that there would be several departments happy to take over some odd tasks right now if it meant being able to hold onto some staffing.

    Bottom line MDFR may have found something that will keeps some Capts and LTs on the payroll.
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    I don't see the controversy...

    There was a need in the community, the FD stepped up (as usual).
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I don't see the controversy...

    There was a need in the community, the FD stepped up (as usual).
    But where is the need? Miami has an Animal Control department that specializes in catching stray dogs and cats. Going after snakes is a whole lot closer to what they are trained to do and what they regularly do than firefighters.

    And quite frankly, there is a thriving private industry focused on nuisance wildlife removal as well.

    LAFire -- are you saying that it is actually doing the Miami FIRE Department any good to have people on its payroll that aren't doing Fire/EMS work? How does that make them better at fighting fires or taking care of patients?

    The goal of the fire department isn't to have as many people as possible on the payroll doing any odd job that comes up. The FD's capability to meet its primary missions is not enhanced or supported by having firefighters assigned to non-firefighting duties.

    If the FD can't justify keeping people on to do fire/EMS then those people need to be let go.

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    Bobby.. you have been a "member" of this site for almost 7 years... when are you going to learn to use the quote button?

    I don't need to take on the nuiscance wildlife problem.. the City has a contractor that handles animal control issues.

    We are filling the three vacant positions we have in the next budget cycle, so we will be back at full staffing until the next round of retirements.

    As far as taking on tasks to maintain staffing... we actually save the community money, as we do our own housework (no custodians needed) minor maintenance on equipment in house (no need to send out equiomeny for repair), etc. etc. etc.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    [QUOTE=DeputyChiefGonzo;1273949]Wrong as usual...[QUOTE]

    That pretty well sums up your post.

    I have met with firefighters across the U.S. for over thirty years. Every community is different. There are departments that make street signs, pick up trash in community parks, and any manner of thing that evolved over time in their town. Sorry if that doesn't meet your standards of what constitutes a proper fire department.

    If you weren't so obsessed with hunting LA down, you probably wouldn't have fallen for that. ;-)

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    That pretty well sums up your post.

    I have met with firefighters across the U.S. for over thirty years. Every community is different. There are departments that make street signs, pick up trash in community parks, and any manner of thing that evolved over time in their town. Sorry if that doesn't meet your standards of what constitutes a proper fire department.

    If you weren't so obsessed with hunting LA down, you probably wouldn't have fallen for that. ;-)
    I am far from obessesed with hunting LA down.. you see, I have a medical conditon that tens of thousands of firefighters suffer from. I have a low tolerance for stupidity and I am allergic to bull$#!t.

    If you feel that FD's should make signs, pick up trash or any manner of thing that "evolved" (more than likely from the mind of a nitwit politician).. then you are no better than "Bossier Bob".
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    As far as taking on tasks to maintain staffing... we actually save the community money, as we do our own housework (no custodians needed) minor maintenance on equipment in house (no need to send out equiomeny for repair), etc. etc. etc.
    I think those are a far cry from what we're talking about here.

    Also, I think there is somewhat of a difference between FFs taking on extra tasks in their "spare" time and assigning them full time to non fire/EMS duties.

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